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Paperback 1776 Book

ISBN: 0743226720

ISBN13: 9780743226721


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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

America's beloved and distinguished historian presents, in a book of breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force, the stirring story of the year of our nation's birth, 1776, interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America's survival in the hands of George Washington. In this masterful book, David McCullough tells...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A must for any collection

This was the first book I read by David McCullough and it did not disappoint. 1776 is a great book packed full of well researched facts of actual detailed events. Being an American revolutionary and civil war buff, I wish I hadn't waited so long to read this book. The book places the reader in the shoes of General Washington in the scense that you feel his disappointment and frustrations with the continental army being so ill equipped and ill funded. I didn't find it to dry or text bookie. My only wish is that it was longer.

The Winners Keep Rolling Along

I am beginning to wonder how David McCullough can continue to produce such important, informative and sheer entertaining works. This does not approach the magnificent JOHN ADAMS but it does shed light on a subject on which the American populace is woefully ignorant: The American Revolution. More particularly it is the story of one year of that long war, the most important and most tenuous of the entire campaign. One is simply astounded at the feats of the revolutionaries - fighting without shoes, clothes, pay or guns, taking on the most powerful force on the planet, sticking to their principles in spite of a cascade of setbacks. The story is, of course, about individuals since in the end, it is the action of the few that determine the outcome of history. One notes the youth of the colonists, their fervor and beliefs in a country not yet in existence. McCullough goes out of his way to be not only fair but also just. His biography of King George is notable for its historical accuracy and its reliance on facts and not legend. The lives of the major characters - British and the American - are detailed. This is also a book about leadership and in particular that of George Washington, the linchpin of the Revolution. It is fair to say that it would have been a lost cause without him at the helm. It was certainly not his strategic skill that shone - his mistakes, errors and misjudgements are legend. Three qualities stand above all others when one reads about the exploits of the Father of the Nation. The first is his courage and steadfastness in the face of overwhelming odds. The second is his ability to recognize and rely on superb aides. The third is his willingness to dare, to cross the river in the middle of the night, to attack on Christmas Day, to know when to run and when to fight. Reduced to a rag-tag army of 3,000, he led the rebels to major victories over the Hessians and over the British at Trenton. These two events rekindled the fire of hope in the colonists and enabled them to endure year after year of almost unbelievable hardship. McCullough presents his characters as they were and yet it seems they are larger than life: Adams crossing the Pyrrenes as an old man, Franklin negotiating and always trying to promote "his fair land", Hale giving his life, Washington leading the troops and Jefferson and the others knowingly risking their lives by signing the Declaration of Independence. A magisterial story by an author at the apex of his powers.

Timely narrative about America's struggle for independence

What topic could be more current than independence or the passionate desire that all men have for freedom? David McCullough brings his considerable literary talent to the fore in describing the fascinatingly pivotal year of 1776. Just one year in an eight year long armed conflict with Great Britain, but a year packed with precedent and momentous events that united the thirteen disparate colonies in a common cause. This book focuses almost entirely on the actual armed struggle rather than the politics of that struggle. Very little is mentioned about the Continental Congress or any of the debates that took place there. All those men and their giant personalities remain on the periphery and instead we learn a great deal more about General George Washington, General Nathanael Green, Colonel Henry Knox, and to a lesser extent the commander of British forces, General William Howe. McCullough's narrative shows us--time and time again--the very human qualities and frailties possessed by these men. In the best of circumstance, war is basically a sustained period of unspeakable suffering, but for these patriots it was a time exacerbated by extreme inexperience, unseasonably harsh weather, shortages of food, muskets, gunpowder, clothing, shoes, and even pay. Poor knowledge of proper field sanitation and personal hygiene created perfect conditions for the growth and spread of deadly diseases. Smallpox flourished and actually plagued Washington's army without ceasing. Fully aware of these handicaps, Washington and his men were tasked to defeat a professional military force that bettered them in ever respect. The British land and sea forces were in fact the most powerful and successful military in the world at that time. In spite of these overwhelming adversities, the men in this ragtag army gave all that they had for the cause of liberty and in the process these soldiers went from ordinary to extraordinary. This is a uniquely informative and compelling novel from one of America's premier historians. It is in fact a timeless story that deserves constant retelling and David McCullough has done wonderfully with this rendition.

How We Won Our Freedom

David McCullough is known as a sterling storyteller of American history with two Pulitizer Prizes for Biography ("John Adams" 2001 and "Truman" 1992) and a National Book Award ("Mornings on Horseback" 1981). What many readers may not realize is that he is a researcher par excellence as evidence by the ten years he spent reading original documents, interviewing and travelling to relevant sites for "Truman." Now he utilizes some of his previous background research for "John Adams" to tell the tale of the crucial year of the American Revolution. "1776." Most Americans are familiar with the Christmas Eve crossing of the Delaware River to win the Battle of Trenton and to close out 1776. Mr. McCullough describes the more unfamiliar stories of the American siege of Boston in driving out the British army and the British victory in driving the Revoluntionary army from New York City. His real strength is as an editor, in choosing which historical stories to include and to exclude, for his 284 page narrative (with 100 additional pages of supporting documentation) could easily have been thrice its current length. In fact, David Hackett Fischer's "Washington Crossing" (2004) and William Dwyer's "The Day Is Ours" (1983) are both over 400+ pages in reciting only the Battles of Trenton and Princeton. The reader should be aware that "1776" is merely an introduction to that year, for the actions of the other Founding Fathers (and Mothers) are barely mentioned. "1776" is fun to read as the 229th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approaches. Mr. McCullough makes clear how close the American Revolution came to failing that year. British overconfidence and Washington's determination (for his battlefield experince as a military commander was nil) were the difference. The reader is directed to "Patriots" (1988) by A.J. Langguth for the best overall view of the American Revolution (1761-1783).

A timely and gripping narrative...

There are certain periods of history that never seem to become tired or dull regardless of how often they are written about. It seems that each new investigator finds some thing new to write about. The American Revolution is a case in point. A quick check of books in print will convince you. David McCullough's 1776 is a terrific investigation into the beginning of the American Revolution. Is it perfect? NO. It does have some missing pieces. But these minor defects are just that...minor. If you look at the complete work, I think you'll find that what 1776 lacks is made up for by McCulloughs ability to deliver the main facts on time and in a way the reader can grasp. As in John Adams, McCullough again finds the ability to make the main characters jump off the page. Washington, a figure that history has rightfully made larger than life is once again a human man, tortured with doubts and always mindful that disaster is just around the corner. I especially like the treatment that McCullough give King George III. As a reader, I always like reading a book that moves along. McCullough's narrative does that quite well. In fact, some of the flaws that other reviewers have rightfully pointed out seem to spring from this style of writing. Well researched and paced for the non-historian, 1776 is a winner. When all is said and done, you'll find that 1776 is worth the time you'll spend reading it.

1776 Mentions in Our Blog

1776 in Remembering David McCullough
Remembering David McCullough
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • August 14, 2022

The world lost a great historian when author David McCullough passed away on August 7. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author was also renowned as a narrator and television host. Read on for more about his life and work.

1776 in You Are What You Read, Part 2!
You Are What You Read, Part 2!
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 14, 2022

A few weeks ago, we published a post about how a reader's fave genre might match up with their personalities and it got some attention! Several of you mentioned that you'd like to see some other genres included. So here you go!

1776 in Resolving to Read More History
Resolving to Read More History
Published by Lance Pettit • March 07, 2018

Getting inspiration and learning more about times past.

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